Morocco: Conscription reintroduced

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Compulsory military service has officially been reinstated in Morocco 12 years after it was abolished. The proposal to instate conscription, which was met with opposition by many young Moroccans inside and outside the country, was unveiled in August 2018. On Thursday, 7th February, it was announced that the decree, reintroducing military conscription was adopted by the Council of Ministers.

A cabinet statement said King Mohammed VI gave “instructions that 10,000 conscripts be called to military service in the current year, before bringing this figure to 15,000 in the next year.”

According to the new law, men aged between 19 and 25 will be called up to serve in the military for a period of one year. Government spokesman Mustapha Khalfi said the first conscripts will be enrolled in Autumn 2019. The draft will not cover women and dual nationals but they will be able to serve on a voluntary basis.

Draft dodgers will face penalties ranging from one month to a year in prison. The new law does not recognise right to conscientious objection but only exemptions; for those who do not meet physical standards, who need to support their families, who continue their higher education, and who have a brother in service as a conscript or have brothers that can be called up simultaneously for military service.

More details on the draft process can be found here.

Conscription was first introduced in 1966 in Morocco - as 18-month mandatory military service for all men aged 18 to 30. In 1999, the length of the service was reduced to 12 months. In 2006, King Mohammed VI abolished the service, which was reported as part of an attempt to block the infiltration of the military by Islamists hatching an anti-monarchist plot.

Sources: The New Arab, Morocco to conscript 10,000 young people under renewed military service, 8 February 2019; Arab News, Morocco officially restarts compulsory military service, 8 February 2019; Morocco World News, Everything You Need to Know About Morocco’s Compulsory Military Service, 10 April 2019; War Resisters' International, Morocco: Conscription to be reintroduced, 30 August 2018.

 

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